Dirty Windows. Photographs by Merry Alpern. Introduction by Richard B. Woodward. Scalo, New York, 1995. 112 pp. Large quarto. First edition. Hardbound in photo-illustrated dust jacket. 72 duotone reproductions.
During the winter of 1993-94, photographer Merry Alpern made these photographs from the open window of a friend's apartment off Wall Street in New York. Two tiny windows were opposite, revealing the secret world of an after-hours sex club, where stock-brokers and other well-to-do businessmen handed over hundreds of dollars and drugs to women in G-strings and black lace. A brilliant piece of surveillance--quite similar in theme and approach to recently the re-published body of work, The Park by Kohei Yoshiyuki--these images express reveal a seamy, taboo side of life hidden beneath the banal surface of things. At the time this work was published, Alpern met with considerable criticism for her work. Along with Andres Serrano and Barbara DeGenevieve, she was vilified by the National Council of the NEA However, her work made it into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and print sales soared.